Drury set to be thrown in at deep end

Chris Lakey Adam Drury is preparing for his first match in 10 months this afternoon - living proof of the importance of Glenn Roeder's two-for-one transfer policy.

Chris Lakey

Adam Drury is preparing for his first match in 10 months this afternoon - living proof of the importance of Glenn Roeder's two-for-one transfer policy.

Roeder's sweeping changes have produced a steady influx of new faces at Carrow Road - a procession that has left some players fitter than others, and Roeder hoping for a trouble-free month or so on the injury front.

So far, Ryan Bertrand, back on loan from Chelsea after his successful stint last season, is Roeder's only injury doubt for this afternoon's opener at Coventry. But there are others - Drury included - who will test the manager's luck over the opening games of the campaign.

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Drury was looking forward to pre-season after recovering from a knee injury, but suffered a hamstring problem during a training camp in Devon and has yet to start an organised game - although Bertrand's injury gives him an early chance to stake a claim for the left-back spot.

Striker Arturo Lupoli lacks match sharpness and is unlikely to last the duration today, while centre-half John Kennedy is also match rusty after a long lay-off.

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All of which leaving Roeder with fingers crossed, hoping in juries don't affect his plans.

“That is one of the downsides of having to sign so many players and not being able to bring them all here by July 1 when we started back,” said the City boss. “At least they are here now, we have got them, and we just need to be a bit fortunate in this first month of the season getting ones who are not fully fit up to the level that the lads who started on July 1 are at.”

Bertrand has some ankle ligament damage which, if it affects him today, shouldn't keep him out of action much longer - a bonus for Drury, whose injury was a legacy of the surgery required to clear up his knee injury.

“Adam has got a weak hamstring because when he had his last operation they had to use part of his hamstring to repair the damage to the knee so at this moment he ha one hamstring which is perfectly strong and one which is a lot weaker than the other,” Roeder said.

“We will get that hamstring as strong as the other side but it will probably take two or three months. We have just got to hope during that period that he doesn't damage the weak hamstring.”

Drury has to start from scratch with Roeder, having been injured before the management change at the end of October, but the good news for the reliable defender is that the manager has joined his fan club.

“I would back myself nine times out of 10 to get a person's character right just by watching them play football, that will tell me what they are like in their life how they play football, and watching Adam Drury play football and now I have really got to know him I would have got that one right as well, because he is a superb professional,” said Roeder.

“So we can leave him on his own to build the strength he needs into the weaker hamstring and while he is doing that he will be playing and we hope he is lucky that he doesn't get any further problems because he's had no reaction for a week now.”

Lupoli lasted just a half in the friendly draw with Colchester a week ago and has a way to go before he is at his peak, fitness-wise.

“Like he said himself, he really just about got to half-time last week, which doesn't surprise me,” Roeder added. “He has had no pre-season training so we do have a few players - John Kennedy is another one - who we need to be lucky with and manage very carefully over the first month of the season to get them to full match fitness and that means trying to keep the whole squad fit so that I can start them and bring them off because they are not going to last 90 minutes.”

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